YMCA Chesapeake CEO, Robbie Gill, was chosen by The Rotary Club of Easton to receive the 2019 J. Howard Anthony Community Service Award. Given yearly to the Talbot County citizen who best exemplifies Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self,” Robbie was characterized as a “man who can move mountains” by the award committee’s chairman, Tom Hill. When asked when he interviewed 15 years ago about what his objective was in seeking the position, Robbie distinguished himself by answering, “to glorify Christ through the YMCA movement,” and that’s what he’s done in the ensuing 15 years. In 2004, there was one YMCA in Easton with 5000 members. Today YMCA Chesapeake has eleven facilities with 40,000 members and is the largest non-profit on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Most importantly, Robbie has always found a way to make membership a reality for those who need it most, and this is a case in point:
Several years ago, two boys—aged 9 and 11—walked into his office to join the Y. Robbie asked them to have their parents fill out the membership forms and sign them. They returned with forms obviously not signed by any parent. When asked why, they replied, “Because our dad is in prison, our mom is on drugs, we have no place to go, and if we don’t get into the Y, we’ll become just like them.” Robbie got them scholarships and YMCA memberships, and a large mountain was moved in those boys’ lives. And he has done that and more over the years, making a decided difference in life on the Eastern Shore—moving mountains for those least able to do it.
J. Howard Anthony as a devoted Rotarian, was a man of immense integrity whose word was always his bond and who served the people of Talbot County, and that’s why Rotary’s Community Service Award is named after him. Robbie Gill is the same sort of person and joins a list of Talbot County luminaries who have also won this award. People such as J. McKenney Willis, Jr., George Murphy, Bill Corkran, Lloyd L. Beatty, Sr., Moorhead Vermilye, Henry Purdy, Sylvia Gannon, Bob Willey, and many more. It can be said of Robbie Gill—as it has been of the others on that list—that he left Talbot County better than he found it.
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